Renee Bunker, RN, CN-BN, is a breast health nurse navigator for Derry Imaging in Derry, N.H. She started working as a nurse navigator in 2012. Renee recently received certification from the National Consortium of Breast Centers as a certified breast nurse navigator.
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Q: What is the most important work you do as a nurse navigator?
Renee Bunker: The most important work I do as a patient navigator happens when I meet patients after they have been told they need a breast biopsy. I am able to sit down with them and any family members to discuss what the radiologist has recommended, how it will be performed, what to expect pre-post biopsy, and how to prepare for the next couple of weeks.
I let them know I am their support throughout this journey and will be with them during the procedure. They have access to my direct line any time they need me.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
RB: I love the lasting relationships I have made with my patients. I love following them through their journey and reassuring them that I will be there and what the next steps will be. It’s always a great reunion when I see them back for their routine imaging.
Q: Can you share any particular patient stories or experiences that demonstrate the value of nurse navigation?
RB: A funny thing about ultrasound-guided biopsies is that we have more than a few patients that ask to stay with us and don’t want to leave because they are having so much fun. I know it sounds strange, but our team here at Derry Imaging treats patients like we want to be treated. We talk, joke, laugh, and try to ease this stressful situation with humor.
Q: What technology do you use in your position? What other tools do you wish you had?
RB: We implemented Cordata last year. It allows us to follow our patients from imaging to survivorship. One of the best features of Cordata is you are able to set reminders for when your patient needs to be seen for their next imaging, scheduled surgeries, and other important dates. This acts as a double check and, more importantly, allows me to follow up with the patient pre and post surgery.
The tool I wish I had would be a universal EMR system for all providers participating in a patient’s care. It would make taking care of them so much easier if you would have access to all the patient’s pertinent information.
Q: What would you say to an organization that is contemplating whether to implement a nurse navigation program?
RB: The service a nurse navigator provides is invaluable to the patient. At a time when the patient is overwhelmed, we are their advocate. We work closely with the entire medical team, ensuring patients receive proper care and follow. And, of course, our most important job is to be their support.